Chatter for SharePoint Online – UPDATE

Hi Everyone. Less than a week has gone by since I officially announced the active development of Chatter for SharePoint Online. I am pleased to report that things are moving along faster than anticipated. I have the feed web part, authentication and the hosted code up and running. Still plenty to do but I wanted to share some initial screenshots of the progress:

Above: Screenshot of the web part running in SharePoint Online

 

Above: Close-up of the Feed Menu

 

About this App Info

Again – not done yet. Still have a lot of code to go through and test/update, a configuration script to write, additional features like Ribbon integration and Search to work on – plus all of the other bits that go into a finished product. I will be reaching out to select clients to help me test this app shortly. If you are willing and able to help me test – which includes providing feedback on usage, errors, performance, etc please reach out to me at marcdavis@sharepointadept.com. Thanks!

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Chatter for SharePoint Online – Announcement

Hi Everyone. A significant number of my customers have reached out to me over the last several months about my Chatter for SharePoint solution and getting a version for SharePoint Online. I have been reluctant in the past to do a complete rewrite of the solution to make it compatible with SharePoint Online for several reasons – including performance, capabilities, cost and the sheer effort of converting all of this code to the client-side object model that Microsoft enforces on the multi-tenant platform. However – things change.

With Salesforce discontinuing their SharePoint products and ThreeWill (the only other vendor besides myself in this space) cancelling their SharePoint Online compatible product I’ve sort of been left ‘holding the bag’, so to speak, for this niche market. And a quick thank you again to Salesforce and ThreeWill for voluntarily recommending my products and services – I appreciate that very much.

It’s clear that the future of SharePoint is in the cloud; and it has reached a certain maturity and awareness that it’s time to start playing in this space. So I am happy to announce that Chatter for SharePoint Online is officially under active development and, unless something unexpected happens, should be ready for release in Q4 of 2017.

Here are some initial details so as to set expectations properly:

  • This version is based on the feature set of the on-prem version of Chatter for SharePoint 2.6 (the latest release as of this time)
  • The on-prem product will continue to be developed and, where practical, features in one will be present in the other
  • The solution will be a provider-hosted App; this allows me to reuse much of the existing code and the server-side performance gains – like caching (in this scenario – I am the provider; you will not need any infrastructure to run this app)
  • The initial release will include the feed web part functionality only; no User Profile Service integration or things that were typically in the Enterprise feature set. Some features can’t be reproduced; others will be added later. I will expand on this as development progresses further.
  • This solution will be offered as a subscription model – based on a user count. Subscriptions will include multiple environments (Sandbox, Production), support, maintenance and scheduled upgrades
  • This will be compatible with all Chatter licenses – including Chatter Free
  • Pricing and other details are in the works

I will be posting additional details of the development progress and the product’s capabilities in the coming weeks. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly at marcdavis@sharepointadept.com. Thank you!

 

Windows Media Center – The End is Nigh

Dear fellow Media Center users,

I was hoping this day would not come – but since Microsoft ended support for WMC we have all been living on borrowed time. I’ve tried to delay this as much as possible for myself – because of the large investment I have in WMC technology – and for the community by offering new streaming options and other features for WMC. But – the reality is the technology I am clinging to is showing its age… and I can’t fix entropy.

I’m not going to tell you what to do – you guys will know when and what. I’ve reached a decision regarding my home media center experience that I thought I would share. I’ve begun the process of converting my massive library and systems over to Plex and a combination of Apple TV and Fire TV. Why? Right now Plex is the leading media platform (in my opinion). With the launch of their Live TV and DVR services it now has the last piece I needed to replace. As I am heavy into the Apple ecosystem – a couple of Apple TVs on my primary TVs make sense. I am also using the awesome Channels app for Live TV from my HDHomeRunPrime and Netflix. With Amazon about to release an Apple TV compatible Prime Video App – All of my media sources will be represented. On my other TVs I think I will be using a combination of Fire TV and Fire Sticks – mostly because of cost and amount of viewing time on those devices.

Couple of other recent events affected my decision and timing to begin the cutover – including the recent Rovi guide issues.

For those that are interested – here is what I am going with for the new setup:

Plex Media Server

  • HP 8300 USFF Desktop; Core I7-3770s @ 3.1GHz
  • 8GB RAM
  • Samsung EVO 240GB SSD
  • Running Windows 7 X64 Pro (Why? Personal choice)

Storage

  • Synology DS414 with 12TB of storage

Tuners

  • HDHomeRun Prime (2)

Media Streamer Devices

  • Two Apple TV (4th Generation) devices
  • Fire TV or Fire Stick (3)

Apps

  • Plex (with Plex Pass)
  • Channels for IOS and TVOS
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • MCEBuddy (for file naming and conversions)
  • AnyDVDHD (For ripping)

This brings us to the Add-ins: Amazon Video for Windows Media Center and Netflix for Windows Media Center. At the moment everything is the same as it was yesterday; the apps are still available and I will be supporting them with updates and fixes as needed. I am mulling over my long term plans though. One option would be to just release them on GitHub and let the community update and manage the solutions. The other would be finding a motivated WMC developer that would like to take ownership of these projects – like I did for the Amazon plugin – and continue to develop them for the community. If you are such an individual – please contact me.

I would like to thank my many followers here and on The Green Button for their suggestions, donations and comments over the past 3 years. It has been a pleasure to contribute to the WMC community. WMC’s reign was good. The king is dead! Long live The King!

Just Released: Chatter for SharePoint 2.6

Hi Everyone! I am pleased to announce the availability of Chatter for SharePoint 2.6. Please see the previous blog entries for details on features and changes. Existing customers should carefully review the Upgrade PDF included in this version for important prerequisites.

If you have any questions or issues with this version, please feel free to reach out to me either on the blog or via the support email account. Thank you!

Chatter for SharePoint 2.6 – Update

Hi Everyone. Just a quick update on the progress of the next release of Chatter for SharePoint. In addition to the previously announced features and improvements I am adding the following:

Poll Creation Support

While the product has had support for answering polls for some time it has not had the ability to create them. Version 2.6 adds this ability. The Poll feed type can be selected from the action menu.

The feed panel will update to display a prompt for the Poll question and up to 10 answers. A minimum of 2 answers are necessary to create a Poll item.

Trending and Recommendations

I’ve also made improvements to the Trending panel – now called the Info Panel. The panel now displays both Trending and Recommendations with a vertical scroll so it saves space.

This should be it for changes. Still expecting version 2.6 to be released by the end of January.

On Deck: Chatter for SharePoint 2.6

Hi Everyone! Hope you all had a very nice holiday. I am back to work with even more improvements to Chatter for SharePoint and some answers to what is in store with Salesforce Spring ’17.

First the answers. I’ve been working with members of Saleforce’s product management and support teams regarding the changes in the platform and what to expect. Here is the situation as I now understand it:

  • When the Chatter REST API was initially released it did not include support for Chatter Free users. This was the reason I researched and developed my Chatter Free solution based on the Chatter Desktop consumer key.
  • Salesforce has since changed this policy; The Chatter Free license type can now use the REST API – provided the API-Enabled permission is set in the Chatter Profile.
  • For reasons unknown at this time my primary development Org does not have the API-Enabled permission available for Chatter Free users; therefore I was not aware and could not test the changed access rights. I have setup a new development Org and it has all of the expected permissions and Chatter Free/Plus users are working using Connected Applications.
  • Chatter Desktop (and any connections using its consumer key) will not be available to NEW Orgs created with Spring ’17 or later.
  • Existing Orgs that have Chatter Desktop currently enabled will continue to function for the foreseeable future.

So what does this mean? I think we’re going to be ok. Since I no longer need to depend on the Chatter Desktop consumer key for Chatter Free users it greatly simplifies the configuration and support of all users. Some minor changes – which I will introduce in version 2.6 – will take care of things.

In a nutshell – if you are currently using my product and have Chatter Free users nothing needs to change for you. I will continue to support the Chatter Free mode (called Legacy in version 2.6) I designed until Salesforce disables the consumer key. You are also free to switch to any of the other Authorization Types now – including form, callback and the new user-agent mode – which uses the same ClickOnce app as Chatter Free but is based on a new Connected Application and not the Chatter Desktop consumer key. If you do switch modes your users will need to re-authorize – but that is a one-time process.

New customers will have the option of using any of the supported Authorization Types: form, callback or user-agent.

Besides the authorization changes above – version 2.6 has some new features and many improvements. The most significant new feature is the support for creating and responding to Question Feed Items:

Above: The updated Feed and Action menu; Post, Upload and Question feed types are now selectable.

Creating a Question Feed Item is as simple as selecting the option from the Feed/Action menu and asking your question:

Above: The Question post UI.

Questions can be answered and the best answer can be chosen and highlighted:

Above: A Question feed item with an accepted answer.

 

Here is the current change log; a few more updates may make it in before it is finalized:

  • Adds support for creating and responding to Question feed items
  • Updates to Authorization process; Now supports Form, Callback and User-Agent for All Chatter license types
  • Chatter Free mode has been deprecated; Orgs created with Spring ’17 or later will not support the Chatter Free mode. They will support the other supported authorization types. Chatter Free mode has been renamed to Legacy and is only supported on older orgs
  • Fixes issue where certain prompts where not pulling localized text from RESX files
  • Fixed issue where some system messages (like group creation) would not be rendered properly by the web part
  • Updated wait animations
  • Removed redundant code in web part source
  • Improvements to the PrepareSharePoint and EasySetup utilities
  • Bug fixes and code improvements

As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any time. Version 2.6 is scheduled to be released before the end of January. Thanks to the folks at Salesforce for working with me on the API and authentication questions.

Salesforce recommends SharePointAdept’s Chatter for SharePoint!

Hi Everyone! Salesforce has announced the upcoming retirement of their Chatter for SharePoint (C4SP) solution in the Summer ’17 release. In the announcement they provide guidance to customers on timing and how to determine if they are affected by the change. I was quite excited (and flattered) to read that they are recommending customers switch to my Chatter for SharePoint solution!

From KB 000239793:

“The recommended replacement is SharePointAdept Chatter for SharePoint; Customers using Chatter for SharePoint need to transition to using SharePointAdept Chatter for SharePoint or build a custom integration with the Chatter public API.”

The full KB article can be found here: https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=000239793&language=en_US&type=1

Obviously I am very grateful to Salesforce for acknowledging my product and recommending it to their customers as an option for maintaining this functionality. I would encourage all existing C4SP users to evaluate my offerings and get back to me with any questions or concerns.

I would like to assure any prospects and my current customer base that my solution is still being actively maintained and will be for the foreseeable future.

Click here for more details on Chatter for SharePoint.